Don't put women on a pedestal, make them equal: Shabana Azmi

Don't put women on a pedestal, make them equal: Shabana Azmi

"Women don't want to be put on a pedestal as 'devis'; all we want is to be equal," said actor and activist Shabana Azmi.  

Speaking at 'Leading Ladies', a Women's Day event organised by Embassy Office Parks on Tuesday, she  said the bane of society was that people had far more opinion than information. "People often say women are the worst enemies of women. Tell me, what survey is this based on? What about all the women who have joined hands in sisterhood?" she asked.

Azmi described the compulsion she once felt to be a good homemaker alongside having a successful career. "We often feel the need to be the perfect 'Wonder Woman'. But we should not hesitate to delegate tasks. Don't try to take care of everything on your own. When I gave up this notion, I finally felt very light," she said.

The actor asked the audience why there were people apologetic about being feminists. "There is a deliberate conspiracy to make feminists seem like belligerent, bra-burners. The movement may have been belligerent, to begin with, but now there are different shades to it. Who can have a grudge against someone wanting equal opportunities?" she asked.

The objectification of women in Indian films cannot be blamed solely on the industry, Azmi said. "How many of you have danced to item songs that objectify women? And so often children dance to such songs and we appreciate it and clap. The blame cannot be on the industry alone. You and I are responsible," she added.

According to her, Indians have been living in several centuries simultaneously with several contradictions. "On the one hand, we have had women in positions such as President, prime minister and speaker of the Lok Sabha but on the other hand, female foeticide still continues," she said.

Men are also victims of patriarchy, constantly being told that men should behave a certain way. "It is very important to blur the differences between men and women. Only then people will be at peace with themselves," the actor said.

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